Minors have access to the Internet and are unaware of the consequences of what they do: this can be dangerous.
The privacy of children and adolescents generates great unrest among parents and guardians.
Online defamation targeting minors also worries experts.
Since mid-2021, Google has been working on online protection for children and adolescents.
The company allows the removal of images of minors in search results.
Removal of images of minors on Google
Last October, Google announced the launch of a new tool that offers more control over children’s images in the search engine.
This option, already available for adults, was only recently introduced for minors.
Sometimes children and adolescents are forced to face significant obstacles online due to the sudden appearance of a picture.
For about three months, however, the minor, parent, or guardian has requested the removal of these images from Google search results.
Now images are not displayed either in the images tab or as thumbnails in the search engine.
The removal of images of minors applies to the search engine but not to the web.
For such eventualities, it is necessary to contact the site’s webmaster where the image is hosted.
How to request the removal of images of minors from Google
The steps to follow to request the removal of images of minors from Google are as follows:
- Visit the support page to understand what information you will need to provide when filling out the form;
- Complete the request for the removal of personal information from Google.
You must include the URL of any image, as well as the URL of the search results page that contains the image;
- After submitting your request, Google reviews and searches for additional information to verify that the requirements for removing child images are met.
The Mountain View giant arrogates to itself the possibility of arguing for a possible refusal of the request.
This commitment is mainly due to the data contained in the Google transparency report.
In the UK, to date, 51,7% of URLs have not been removed, compared to 48,3% who have completed the process.
RighttobeforgottenGDPR.com offers consultancy, application, and follow-up services in procedures relating to the Right to be Forgotten.
Requirements for removing images of minors
Google establishes the following requirements for the removal of images of minors in its search engine:
- The URL submitted must be an image URL;
The person concerned must be under the age of 18 at the time of identification.
The image must contain the face to allow identification of the child.
- Furthermore, it justifies the elimination in the event of the death of someone before the age of 18;
- The person requesting the removal is the minor, the legal guardian, or the authorized representative.
The company indicates public or journalistic interest cases as an exception, allowing only information such as name, surname, or parents’ names to be deleted.
Contact RighttobeforgottenGDPR.com to discover all the possibilities recognized by the Right to be Forgotten.
The consequences of publications
Google’s new option only refers to minors under 18.
The Google help page indicates that, with the age of majority, this possibility is no longer valid:
“In the images, a person who is currently a minor can be identified”.
Otherwise, those already of age can apply the Right to be Forgotten for irrelevant, defamatory, or obsolete content.
In this sense, the concept of sharenting refers to parents who share contents of which their children are the protagonists.
As these children grow up, they may want to remove that content from the Internet.
Here the Right to be Forgotten comes into play, which welcomes the removal of outdated content.
A Microsoft study conducted in 25 countries reveals that 42% of teens have problems with publications displayed on their parents‘ social networks.
Looking into this data, 11% think it’s a big problem, 14% think it’s a medium concern, and the rest (17%) think it’s a minor problem.
Considering sharenting or the case in which a third party publishes an abusive image of a minor, the protagonist, parents, or guardians can request the removal of the search results.
Google and its safe offer to minors
In August last year, Google announced its new internet screening policy for children and teenagers.
It is now not allowed to create accounts for children under 13, but parents can create controlled accounts.
The company offers various programs such as YouTube Kids or digital literacy, where children learn to be confident and engaged digital citizens.
Google is committed to creating safe experiences for minors in all its fields.
On YouTube, the upload setting is available for teenagers between 13 and 17.
With private uploads, the content can only be seen by web users selected by whoever shared the content.
The channel promotes digital well-being and provides educational guarantees on commercial content.
Safe Search, when enabled, helps filter explicit results.
The tool is already disabled for children under 13 who are logged in and have accounts managed by Family Link.
However, the new policy is activated for minors under 18 while it is set, by default, for adolescent accounts.
The company constantly works to prevent a child from coming into contact with adult content during the Google Assistant experience.
It is applying, for example, the SmartScreen software as well.
Location history is turned off by default on all profiles.
Also, children with supervised accounts don’t have the option to activate it.
Now, this protection is extended to users under the age of 18 who will not be able to enable it.
Google has expanded security measures to prevent minors from seeing sensitive ads.
Likewise, it is blocking ad targeting based on the age, gender, or interests of people under 18.
Children and teens have spent in front of the Internet presuppose that parents, educators, and security experts care and seek privacy solutions.
Google‘s new measure aims at this, but it may not be completely effective as it involves contacting the website managers to complete the removal.
Again, the company stresses the importance of contacting the site’s webmaster.
In RighttobeforgottenGDPR.com we help you to exercise your Right to be forgotten.
We offer professional advice, application, and follow-up in privacy and data protection procedures.